|Alabama 6, Auburn 2
|South Carolina 3, Texas A&M 2
Sullivan Goes Eight Innings to Lead Alabama Past Auburn
AUBURN, Ala. – Starting pitcher Charley Sullivan allowed one run in eight innings to lead the Alabama baseball team to a 6-2 Southeastern Conference win over the Auburn Tigers on Thursday night from Plainsman Park. With the win, Alabama improves to 17-10 and 6-1 in SEC play, while the Tigers fall to 15-11 and 0-7 in conference action.
“We played solid tonight and Charley Sullivan gave us a really nice start,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “We knew Kendrick was really good after he was dominating against us in Montgomery, so it was important for us to get off to a good start. The home run Smith hit was big, because it got us going early. We strung some hits together and had some really good at-bats in the middle of the ball game.”
Sullivan allowed just one run on five hits with a walk and seven strikeouts. The lone run allowed by Sullivan came in the seventh inning when Blake Astin hit a solo home run with two outs. With Sullivan giving way to the bullpen for the ninth, Auburn got a run and loaded the bases off reliever Mitch Greer, to bring the tying run to the plate with two outs. Alabama went to freshman closer Ray Castillo, who struck out Ryan Tella to close out the game, earning his fifth save of the season and fourth in as many appearances.
For the 12th time this season, and the eighth time in the last 10 games, Alabama reached double digits in hits, after banging out 11 against the Tigers on Thursday. Leading the way for the Tide offensively was first baseman Austen Smith, who was 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBI. Kyle Overstreet was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored for his sixth multiple hit game of the season.
Kenny Roberts was 2-for-5, Brett Booth had a double and two RBI, Ben Moore had a triple, a walk, a RBI and a run scored and Georgie Salem was 1-for-2 with three walks.
Making his first start of the season for Auburn, Connor Kendrick (2-1) allowed six runs (two earned) on nine hits with four walks and two strikeouts and took the loss. Kendrick threw six innings without allowing a hit and had eight strikeouts against Alabama in the MAX Capital City Classic back on March 5.
Alabama took a 1-0 lead when Smith launched one over the 30-foot tall left field fence at Plainsman Park, with one out in the second inning. It was Alabama’s sixth home run of the season and second of the year for Smith.
The Tide broke the game open in the third inning after a costly error by Auburn resulted in four unearned runs. With runners on first and second, Roberts hit a ball to short where Dan Glevenyak couldn’t handle the grounder, allowing Bama to load the bases. After Moore’s sacrifice fly allowed Chance Vincent to score, Booth smashed a ball to deep center field to drive in Salem and Roberts. The final run of the inning came on a single by Smith to drive in Booth from second, making the score 5-0 Tide.
Auburn looked to answer in the bottom of the third by loading the bases against Sullivan with one out. Sullivan got the Tigers’ top hitter Garrett Cooper to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to get out of the jam. The double play turned by the Tide was the 31st of the season, which is 10th in the country and second in the SEC.
Alabama added to its lead in the fifth when Overstreet singled up the middle to plate Moore, who tripled to open the inning. The Tide had a chance to extend its lead in the sixth after loading the bases with one out against Kendrick. Reliever Reid Carter took the mound and he got Moore to pop out to second and Booth to line out to shortstop to end the inning without any damage.
After the Auburn solo home run in the seventh, the Tigers mounted a late charge in the bottom of the ninth inning. Pinch-hitter Patrick Savage singled down the right field line to score Damek Tomscha, who doubled to start the rally. After Greer walked Astin and pinch-hitter J.D. Crowe to load the bases, Castillo struck out Tella for the third time in the game to preserve the Alabama victory.
Alabama and Auburn will play game two of the series on Friday night at 6 p.m. CST from Plainsman Park. Alabama will start sophomore LHP Jon Keller (3-2, 2-78 ERA) and the Tigers will counter with junior lefty Michael O’Neal (4-2, 2.78 ERA).
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Gamecocks Rally for 3-2 Win Over Aggies
Columbia, S.C. - LB Dantzler tallied a two-run double in the sixth inning to bring the Gamecocks back from a two-run deficit and Graham Saiko followed up in the seventh inning with a fielder's choice to drive in a run as No. 14 South Carolina rallied for a 3-2 win over No. 13 Texas A&M on Thursday night in the opener of a three-game SEC series. The Gamecocks improve to 20-6 and 3-4 in the SEC while the loss drops Texas A&M to 18-9 and 5-2 in league play.
Adam Westmoreland would push his record to 2-0 on the year and Tyler Webb would register his ninth save of the season. As a team the Gamecocks struck out 17 batters in game one of the series, and did not surrender a run after the fourth inning. Westmoreland hurled 3.2 scoreless innings of relief and struck out seven batters, a season-high to earn the win. Webb allowed just one hit while striking out four batters. Texas A&M reliever Jason Freeman suffered the loss and is 1-1 for the season. He allowed one run on two hits in 0.2 innings.
The Gamecocks had the first 12 strikeouts of their eventual 17 in the first six innings but trailed 2-0. Evan Beal started strong striking out five of the first six batters he faced, but left after allowing single runs in the third and fourth innings.
Mikey Reynolds doubled in the third inning and scored on a two-out RBI single by Krey Bratesn to give A&M a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning. The lead increased to 2-0 in the fourth as Daniel Mengden drove in Troy Stein with a fielder's choice.
Trailing 2-0 entering the sixth inning, the Gamecocks mounted a comeback as Texas A&M starting pitcher Grayson Long walked Tanner English to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning. He then surrendered a two-out single to Joey Pankake to put runners on the corners. That set the stage for Dantzler, who roped a two-out double into left center on a 3-2 pitch to tie the game at 2-2.
Westmoreland would continue to shut down Texas A&M with a little help from his defense as Saiko made a diving catch for the second out in the top of the seventh.
The Gamecocks would continue the offensive production in the seventh as back-to-back one out singles by Conner Bright and Kyle Martin and an intentional walk to English would load the bases for Saiko. Saiko would score a run on a fielder's choice hit to the shortstop and the Gamecocks would take the lead.
With the score 3-2 at the start of the eighth inning the Gamecocks would turn to senior Tyler Webb to close out the game. He would give up a single to the first batter he faced but would strike out the next four of the next six batters he faced sealing the Carolina victory.
Carolina won despite being out-hit 10-5 in the contest. Dantzler went 2-for-3 to lead Carolina at the plate. Cole Lankford had three hits and Blake Allemand added two to lead A&M at the plate.
The series continues Friday at Carolina Stadium, first pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. It can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station, 107.5, "The Game", with Andy Demetra and Tommy Moody behind the microphone.